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Life as a Mixed Reality Developer
Paul Mcshanag-munn
Video Producer
5 min read

Let’s start with a definition.

A Mixed Reality Developer is someone who works in the exciting space between the physical and digital worlds. It’s an area that is growing rapidly, with organisations keen to use the technology to help entertain, educate and inform. Think Virtual Reality headsets, where the human interacts with a virtual world, where teams from across the globe share experiences, learnings, and training, by entering into Virtual Worlds, in real time.

Employees completing a five-minute training session with such a mixed-reality program has been shown to yield the same results as reading a 50-page training manual.[30]

At 360south Alex Gneiding is one such Mixed Reality developer, a young bloke who saw the digital future:

“After graduating University, I jumped head first into the first emerging tech I could get my hands on; ergo, a new MR developer was born.
At MR's infancy I was freelancing for multiple companies. Working on projects in a multitude of industries. During this time, I learnt where Virtual reality and Augmented Reality worked and where it didn't work.”

Alex spends large parts of the day walking around the office wearing a VR headset and talking to himself. Occasionally a ‘wow’, or something less positive, blurts out, a lot of the time, it’s a laugh. Then you look at his computer screen and see a virtual world, the one he’s interacting with. Scenes, characters, places, scenarios. At other times, the screen is a mass of computer code, the design and functionality built to make all the ‘wow’ imagery, sounds and effects actually happen.

I’m like the builder/sparky of a house. 3d modellers and UI designers supply the parts: wood beams, metal etc. I put everything together. Connect pipes, wire it together. I make it functional. I put the door on a hinge so it’ll move the right way when pushed etc.

Recreating life is fun. You can recreate behaviours of objects in life with just a few lines of code. I am a creature of curiousity and this to me is fun because it helps me understand life. DNA is very similar to how code works with applications and entire beings can be built from the lines of code in our DNA. When I code the behaviour of a daisy (for example the solar tracking feature of the plant) I can assume that the code I write would exist, in some form or another, in the DNA of the daisy.” 

While Alex can work his magic, Mixed reality has very tangible, real world applications.

It allows a global workforce of remote teams to work together and tackle an organization's business challenges. No matter where they are physically located, an employee can wear a headset and noise-canceling headphones and enter a collaborative, immersive virtual environment. As these applications can accurately translate in real time, language barriers become irrelevant. This process also increases flexibility.

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Machine maintenance can also be executed with the help of mixed reality. Larger companies with multiple manufacturing locations and a lot of machinery can use mixed reality to educate and instruct their employees. The machines need regular check- ups and have to be adjusted every now and then. These adjustments are mostly done by humans, so employees need to be informed about needed adjustments. By using mixed reality, employees from multiple locations can wear headsets and receive live instructions about the changes.

Instructors can operate the representation that every employee sees, and can glide through the production area, zooming in to technical details and explaining every change needed.

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Another key area for the Mixed Reality Developer is Augmented Reality, where objects that reside in the real world are enhanced by computer-generated perceptual information. AR can be defined as a system that fulfils three basic features: a combination of real and virtual worlds, real-time interaction, and accurate 3D registration of virtual and real objects

So, as an example, you have your smartphone and you’re in-store, for example, and see a promotion. You hold your phone up at the image on the poster/product as if to take a photo and a ‘trigger’ on that product/poster activates your phone. Your screen now shows the real world(like it is when you look at your phone when taking a picture or video) but within that world, that landscape, animated products/people come to life. You can move around them, interact with them by touching your screen. Alex again:

“I love seeing all that work become a piece of interactive content that helps our client bring their idea to life. Recently we’ve worked with clients on road safety campaigns where the user had to immerse into a Virtual world and face real traffic situations. We launched an Augmented Reality App for a major car company that showed the inside of the new car, how it looks in different colours and accessories that can be added, and at a major event we built a retail store. The guests could not get enough of trying the Augmented Reality App on their phone. It was a huge hit!”

Increasingly businesses are adopting Augmented Reality to bring to life in store activations, to promote products and gain brand awareness. Clothing and furniture stores are using AR to let customers design virtual rooms, are see how they look wearing certain clothes. With IKEA’s Place – you can sit at home and choose the item you’re thinking of buying and place it into the room to see if it fits – saving wasted hours going to the store and getting lost in IKEA land.

Clothing giant ZARA encouraged to “shop the look in augmented reality,” customers could point their smartphones at the seemingly plain signage and bring to life a virtual catwalk. In short video clips, models brought spring fashion to life by strutting through Zara’s aisles and window displays. And, of course, the models’ outfits were only one tap away from a user’s cart, a seamless transition from runway to retail.

Just a couple of real world examples in the business application of AR.

The #AR software market is expected to reach $35.22 Billion by 2022. *Source. Statista.com

Alex :

“I love what I do because it's new, it's exciting, it's unexplored. I feel like a modern day pioneer; born too late to explore the world, born too early to explore space, but born at just the right time to be a digital author creating worlds and realities.”

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